Irish Coffee & The Dead Rabbit

Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon were working at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast when a regular customer who split his time between there and New York noticed what they were up to. “He felt that we had reached our peak in Belfast, and he said the opportunities would be endless in New York if we were able to replicate what we had done there,” recounts McGarry. “Our brief was simple: We had one and only one chance to get this right.” Getting it right meant creating a cocktail bar for the 21st century, and one that could stick around for a while. After looking to their two favorite Belfast bars for inspiration — the Merchant Hotel and the Duke of York — the two turned to New York history to unearth where Irish bar culture met the upscale cocktail world. After a heap of homework and wild historic discoveries in Manhattan’s Financial District (not short of gangs, gambling, and all around foul play), the partners found the perfect place to retell such stories: a five-story townhouse on Water Street that was built in 1828, big enough for the  Irish-immigrant bar on the ground floor, the third floor Occasional Room for private events, and, of course, the first floor Parlor, whose menu consists of 72 drinks based loosely on Herbert Asbury’s 1928 reprint of Jerry Thomas’s Bartenders Guide. Just one of those 72, of course, is their take on the classic Irish coffee. “Our ethos with The Dead Rabbit, and indeed with all our projects, is to challenge the status quo,” says McGarry. “We not only wanted to make a good, or very good, Irish coffee — we wanted to make the very best in the world, and something that will challenge our guests’ views on it.” Cheers!

1 1/2 oz Powers Gold Label Whiskey
1/2 oz rich Demerara sugar syrup
4 oz regular filter coffee
Thumbs worth of cream
Freshly grated nutmeg
Mix first three ingredients together and top with cream and freshly grated nutmeg


By Nicole Schnitzler

(Photos from left: Interior; Irish Coffee; Jack McGarry & Sean Muldoon)